THE TRANSFIGURATION shows how horror can evolve
We as a collective society will never truly be able to shake the intense obsession we have with vampires. The idea of the undead may weave its way through our popular culture, being “in” one minute, and “out” the next. In 2017, we are currently in an “out” stage. Twilight burned everyone out for the foreseeable future. Alas, vampire lore did not start with Twilight, and it won’t end with it either. The narratives surrounding vampires truly are as immortal as the creatures themselves. Luckily for vampire enthusiasts (as I’m sure there are quite a few), every few years a new writer comes along with a bit of a twist to add to a well-dissected genre, and such is the case with The Transfiguration.
Milo (Eric Ruffin) lives in a Queens, NY with his older brother after his mother committed suicide. He is isolated and gives off the vibes of a disturbed individual. He sees a therapist who asks him if he still hurts animals. Yes, we’re in the territory of “don’t let that kid near a handgun”. However, Milo does not need a handgun, as he uses his wit to catch his prey and then unlike most dangerous loners, he drinks from them.
This film is more dark and more gritty than most vampire movies I have ever seen, as the film never clearly states whether or not Milo is a vampire, or is just weirdly obsessed with them. He is an outcast, your typical quiet introvert, except not really. His surroundings seem to be that of danger, but not the kind he lives for. He doesn’t fit in with the gang members that lurk around the building. He doesn’t really fit in with anyone. He watches the same classic vampire films over and over again, analyzing them with vigor. When he meets the kind Sophie (Chloe Levine), their friendship is one that is forged in the space for people that don’t fit anywhere else.
I quite enjoyed the themes in this film and the simplicity in which it was shot. Bullies, race, gangs, social/monetary class, stereotypes, suicide, depression, loneliness – this film really threw a lot in to a plot about vampires. Regardless, it still flowed organically and did not feel overstuffed. Ruffin managed to portray so much with few words as the film completely depended on his ability to do so. The character of Sophie was brought to life wonderfully by Chloe Levine and I found her character, although somewhat broken herself, to be a nice break from the walking dark cloud that is Milo.
This, for me is what film is about. Taking chances, reinventing old tropes while weaving in real issues that people deal with every day. Blurring the lines between fantasy, horror and real life, but who’s to say which is which?